Ebola kills 56 in two days, says WHO

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Geneva: The Ebola virus killed 56 people in just two days, bringing the global death toll to 1,069, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.

The death toll, which passed the 1,000-mark at the weekend, soared higher between August 10 and 11.

The number of confirmed infections jumped by 128 over the two days, bringing the total number of cases to 1,975 people, the UN's health agency said.

New cases and deaths had been registered in all four west African countries so far hit by the worst Ebola epidemic seen since the deadly virus was discovered four decades ago.

Liberia saw 71 new cases and 32 new deaths, while Sierra Leone recorded 53 new cases and 19 more deaths, according to fresh WHO data.

Guinea, where the outbreak began at the beginning of the year, counted four new cases and four new deaths.

Nigeria, meanwhile, counted one more death, bringing the total there to three, but WHO lowered the total number of suspected, probable and confirmed cases in the country to 12 from 13. (AFP)

The outbreak is also having serious economic consequences

on the countries in the region, threatening to push these countries backwards as airlines are cancelling flights and companies are moving their staff out of the region.

"Six months into the outbreak, fear is proving to be the most difficult barrier to overcome... Fear, and the hostility it can provoke, have threatened the security of national and international response teams," Chan said.

Ban appointed David Nabarro as Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola, in support of the work done by Chan and her team to counter the outbreak, which the agency has designated a "public health emergency of international concern."

Nabarro would be responsible for ensuring that the UN system makes an effective and coordinated contribution to the global effort to control the outbreak.

Meanwhile, a 12-member ethics panel convened by WHO said it is ethical to treat Ebola patients with experimental drugs to counter the largest, most severe and most complex outbreak of the disease in history.

On the operational side, WHO said it is finalising its strategic operations response plan and expects to share it with countries and partners in the coming days.

The UN health agency said that standard measures, like early detection and isolation of cases, contact tracing and monitoring, and rigorous procedures for infection control, have stopped previous Ebola outbreaks including those in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as Gabon.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious, but is not airborne.

Transmission requires close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, as can occur during health-care procedures, home care, or traditional burial practices, which involve the close contact of family members and friends with bodies. 


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